Marina on Kaavya in Minnesota

In today's Minneapolis Star Tribune, author Marina Budhos (Ask Me No Questions, Atheneum 2006) wondered if an immigrant-striving-for-conformity syndrome contributed to the Opal Mehta scandal:
Was Viswanathan as much the victim of her upbringing as she was of a media machine that would too easily buy her as a brand? Are we, as children of immigrants, emerging from our families, already a kind of walking and talking success package, susceptible to the branding that the marketplace will happily do for us? To me, the Indian facility for exam-taking also speaks to a deep conformity among immigrants, a cynicism, even, that education, life's success, is simply a matter of figuring out the right moves.
Budhos' own first YA novel about a Bangladeshi family struggling to stay in America seems light years away from any pre-packaged chick lit genre. (I've got it on my nightstand and will review it soon on the Fire Escape.)

No comments: